Why the Unskilled Are Unaware: Further Explorations of (Absent) Self-Insight Among the Incompetent

Joyce Ehrlinger, Kerri Johnson, M. Banner, D.Dunning, Justin Kruger, Kapor Enterprises, Sept 28, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

It is well known that low-skilled people tend to over-estimate their performance. This is typically thought to result from their inability to recognize what poor and good performance looks like. But in this paper, the authors suggest there may be more to it than that. "What appears to be an inability to assess the quality of one’s performance on the part of the unskilled might actually be an unwillingness to do so accurately." People don't want to admit their own incompetence. But suppose this were accompanied with the knowledge that their performance can improve. "Recent research reveals that individuals who hold a view that intelligence is malleable make far more accurate assessments of the quality of their performance than do those who believe intelligence to be fixed." It's easier to be honest about our level of competence if we know that this is something that can, and will, improve. Via Doug Belshaw.

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